The Three Peaks Challenge is the ultimate against the clock agility challenge. Climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in 24 hours is something many people strive to achieve.
Chef Dave Taylor, 51, is one of the brave adventurers who has taken on this mammoth challenge. He tells us more:
The year I turned 40, I decided I wanted to overload myself with challenges to see if I could still do them. I’d heard of the Three Peaks Challenge and I knew a few people who had done it, so I thought, ‘yeah why not let’s do it’.
I was lucky to have a group of friends who were also interested in doing it, I definitely couldn’t do it alone. We were all enthusiastic about doing the challenge, about 12 of us ended up signing up and then we just needed to start planning.
We decided to go in June because the days are longer, so it seemed a bit easier. It was nice; we bumped into a few other groups doing the challenge along the way. I was surprised at how ill-equipped some of the other groups were, they didn’t have enough water, or snacks or the right walking gear on. It’s not a lot you need but you are up for 24 hours so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Having successfully completed the challenge himself, Dave has given us some of his tips for fundraising and training:
Once we told people we were doing the challenge for charity they couldn’t have been more supportive. We got in touch with lots of companies to get advice and equipment and we received many discounts. We even got the mini bus for cheaper which was a big help, we sourced our own driver – who wasn’t doing the climbing – as it helped to have someone alert at all times. It wouldn’t have been fair sharing the driving as I think it would’ve been a bit too dangerous.
It’s best to do some training walks first, a few of us met up to do some training walks up Ben Nevis. It helps when you need to gage how much training you need to do before the challenge. We worked out all the timings and a training schedule and we started to climb Ben Nevis at 3pm. I knew we had to be down by 9pm so we could drive to the Lake District.
We arrived at the Lake District late at night so we all wore head torches so we could see where we were going, we saw loads of other groups wearing them too. It’s interesting because if you do the descent quick enough you can have a quick wash and some breakfast before moving onto the next place, it doesn’t seem as rushed then. You are against the clock at all times so you can’t take that ‘spare time’ for granted. A few people I did it with took a bit longer so we had to jump straight on the bus when they got down. If you know your timings though and work it all out beforehand it can be an easy task to do.
Snowdonia was the last peak to climb, we just got off the bus and cracked on. I checked my watch at the time and knew that even if we did it reasonably slow we could complete it in the 24 hour timeframe. We did it in about 23 hours and 35 minutes, the sense of achievement was incredible, it was a great accomplishment and we couldn’t wait to celebrate what we had achieved.
Registering for a climb like this is a huge commitment, but Dave felt a real sense of achievement on completion of his Three Peaks Challenge. Here at St Oswald’s, we want to ensure that your fundraising challenges are unforgettable – and the Three Peaks is just that.
It was hard with the long drives and the lack of sleep, but it’s worth it to be able to say you’ve done it. I look back at what I’ve done and I’m so proud – mainly because I don’t have to do it again! But I’ve done it once and I can look back on fond memories with a sense of pride.
If there are any fitness fanatics, I’d recommend doing it as it’s a massive challenge. You think it’s impossible and inconceivable but it’s not, and once you’ve done it the feeling is incredible.
I always say there’s no better reason to do something than to fill your own desires, but if you’re raising money for the Hospice then that’s even better. It’s a win, win situation.
We still have places for the Three Peaks and, as part of January’s 31 Days of Adventure, you can reserve your place for just £10. Take a look here